We were proud to stand as part of the vigil in memory or Sarah Everard on Clapham Common on Saturday evening. It was respectful, sombre and entirely peaceful on the part of those participating. Nonetheless, there was rightly huge anger at Sarah’s murder, at the police response, and at the system that creates the space for such sick acts to happen.
Having caused many of the problems that led to this vigil, and having responded with such crass insensitivity and victim blaming by telling women to stay at home after this crime, the behaviour of the police was again outrageous. They waded in, first arresting the organisers for exercising their right to peaceful protest, threatening the whole crowd with arrests and fines, and then kettling the remaining participants. If the role of the police in encouraging and perpetrating sexist violence was not already clear, then the images circulating online of police crushing women on the ground should remove all doubt.
There was rightly a defiant response, with chants of “arrest your own”, “police go home” and “hands off” heard loudly. This anger at gender-based violence and the disgusting role of the police is echoed round the country, with solidarity vigils in Liverpool, York and elsewhere.
The anger and determination we are witnessing cannot be allowed to dissipate. Everyone who is angry should stay organised and fight to ensure this can never happen again. That means building a local group to fight for justice for Sarah, as part of a broader socialist feminist movement that can smash sexism and smash the system that drives it.
Read more here.
If you’re interested in discussing these issues and where to go next, join us for an online meeting, hosted by South London Socialist Alternative but open to all, on Wednesday at 7.30pm. Sign up here.